Monday, April 30, 2007

I Miss You

This was inspired a post called "Dear Husband" on Organic Muslimah's blog



I miss you,
but I haven't met you yet.
So special.
But it hasn't happened yet

...But if you believe in dreams
Or what is more important:
That a dream can come true,
I will meet you.

I Miss You by Bjork.

As a daydreaming teenager, I used to ponder about "The One". Who would he be? Where was he? Was he somewhere thinking about me?

These thoughts continued as I got older, though I still could not imagine being with him. Would you be that happy all the time? Would they love you for who you are or just what they liked about you? Would I love them in the same way?

Being settled with someone, having that other half, even after becoming Muslim, with a religion that strongly emphasises marriage, imagining being married felt like dreaming of being an astronaut, I could visualise it in my head, but it actually happening...?

When something wonderful happens to you, an event that's completely unexpected, in your mind you turn over all the coincidences that lead to it. The conference you decided to go on, the train you happened to catch. The sweetness of knowing only a few days prior to this, your mind was filled with other thoughts, unaware of the joy that awaited you.

I still can't believe it has happened, it's real, this is my life. This person by my side, my love, my best friend, my future.

I never knew I could love someone this much. That is the biggest surprise, that my heart was capable of such emotion. The more I know him, the more I love him, the good and the bad parts, they make him the person he is.

I want to grow old with him, have children with him, travel the world with him, grow as a Muslim with him.

I always tell him he is the second best thing to have happened to me, the first being to have converted to Islam.

A while ago, a friend of mine told me to "Be patient, You won't get more then what Allah swt has written for you" .

Alhamdulilah that He has written this. All blessings are from Him and all praise is due to Him. May Allah swt soften all our hearts. Ameen.

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Rose/Warda

Firstly, a confession: I'm not really Safiya. I only call myself Safiya on my blog, for the purposes of maintaining anonymity.

After converting, I did contemplate taking a Muslim name and decided that Safiya was a nice name (and I greatly admire Safiya R.A). Not long after I converted, my Mum asked me "You don't have to change your name do you?" I answered truthfully, no, to her great relief. My name is special to my parents. It's special to me too, the phonetics please me and it just feels like my name, so I could never bring myself to call myself another name.

I remember one Muslim lady being flabbergasted that I hadn't taken a Muslim name. I wish I had just said: When asked a factual question, I will respond. Asking the same question repeatedly will not change my response to an answer that suits you.

As for the rest of my name, my middle name is a bit blah but I loved my surname. It fitted very nicely with my first name and reflected my Celtic heritage. But it still stopped being my surname after marriage, for different reasons.

Growing up, it was a given that you changed your name once you got married. A feature of any teenage crush was seeing how your name sounded with his surname.

Islam is still largely not seen as a white person thing. Hence the endless slew of articles featuring "white women in hijab" (Whenever I've heard of any media requests for interviews with new Muslims they always have that same request), because it's so bizarre and kooky(!)

So my name started to seem strange to other people, especially if they had seen my name before meeting me. One experience was waiting outside to meet a business associate outside their building. I told them where I would be waiting, and I waited for over twenty minutes before they approached me, and asked with a look of disbelief "Are you.....?".

I started getting tired of my non-Muslim name. Should a name reflect who you are, especially what is most important to you?

At this point, I will point out that Islamically it is forbidden to change a child's surname/family name to obscure or conceal their parentage.

There are different opinions on the changing of surnames. It is not a Sunnah, lots of Muslim women don't take their husband's name, but there are opinions that a woman changing her name on marriage is acceptable.

I decided that were I to marry a Mr Born Muslim, if he had an Islamic surname, I would take it after marriage.

So that's what I did. Yes, it's nice in the girly romantic way, but more importantly, my new surname is a classical Arabic word, which is in the Qu'ran and it feels good to have that connection.

However, I'm still at little uneasy about some of my intentions. I'm a white Muslim, an oddity. Insha Allah, as more people convert (not just white people, but from other traditionally not-Muslim ethnicities) it will become less odd.

But I'll still be strange. At the airport in Homeland of Husband, I was asked if my father was of that nationality, "La, zawji (No, my husband is)".

Or you get the irritating (on a sand in your underwear level) assumption that as you are married, your hijab is playing "dress up" to please that domineering husband of yours.

The bottom line is, whatever you choose in this life, someone will annoy you about it, so just make sure your choices are good for you.

N.B I didn't actually get rid of my old surname all together. I changed my name via deed poll, so it became another middle name. I'm glad it's still there.

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Meme -If the blogosphere was going to end tomorrow....

This is a Meme Alina tagged me to do. You can read more about it on her site. Basically, it was started by a blogger called Urban Monk, who has promised to donate $1 to charity for every meme.

The basic concept is: if the blogosphere was going to end tomorrow, what would your last blog post be?

Here is mine:

I first became interested in blogs shortly after I converted to Islam. At this time, I would spend hours on the Internet, looking up everything I could about Islam. It's fair to say that the Internet isn't always the best source of information on Islam, but that's for another post.

It was through the comments section on Muslim Wake Up! (Yes, I used to read it), that I found Luckyfatima's blog, reading blogs lead to reading more blogs and that is how I've ended up with the variety of people on my blog roll.

The blogs I read were a refreshing anti dote to Islamic websites which were either scary fundamentalism or hipster progressivism. These bloggers felt like I did, loved Allah swt like I did and just like me, were working towards being better Muslims in their everyday life.

I didn't just read Muslims blogs, but blogs from all faiths (or none). The voices carried in all these blogs made me think about my own voice.

About a year after I started reading blogs, I felt ready to begin my own blog. It's harder then it looks. Ideas that buzz around your head, easily congeal when in the form of words on the screen.
Developing your voice, while avoiding cliches and pretentious language and always remaining sincere. Finding the time and discipline to blog, all these things were goals I was working towards.

And now it must end. I still have things left to say, but I shall look for a new form to say them.
I am grateful for all the people, too many to name who have inspired me with their posts and uplifted me with their comments.

More then this I am pleased to have had the opportunity to speak as a Muslim woman, a section of society so often spoken about, but rarely spoken to. There is endless hand wringing about Muslim integration. I hope that my blog, like many others shows that integration isn't something that others demand we achieve, it is something we are accomplishing in our daily existence. We are not The Other, nor do we wish to be.

Finally, I thank Allah swt for all His blessings and ask Him to forgive any errors I have made in this blog.

La ilaha il Allah, Muhammad-ur-Rasool-Allah

May all of you be blessed with good health and strong voices,

Wasalaam,

Safiya Outlines.


I tag everyone who reads this!



Thursday, April 05, 2007

Talking about textiles.

Yes, this is a hijab post. I know there have been many, many hijab posts. Still, I think Muslim women have the right to reclaim the discourse, so here is my little effort.

These are my honest feelings, not religious guidance. These are the choices I have made and I respect the differing choices of others.

Alhamdulilah, I like wearing hijab, for many reasons.

Firstly, as I have stated before, I believe hijab is a fard (a religious obligation). So I feel, that of the many should-do's that there are in Islam, it's good to have ticked one off.

That sounds very prosiac, I know so let me clarify that.

As Muslims we seek to submit to Allah swt. It's not easy. The stuggle to submit my brain to concentrate on prayer for five minutes! But when I put on my hijab, I'm doing something Allah swt has asked of me and it feels good.

Physically, I like the feel of wearing hijab. It's good to wrap your head up on a cold day.
If I'm honest, it feels like a kind of security blanket, then sensation of it, but also the reminder it provides in times of stress: "Yes I am Muslim, this situation is only temporary... breath deeply and think of Allah".

I like wearing it as visible statement of my faith, but I won't trot out the tired line of not being judged, as people still judge you or not being hassled, as people judge you in a different way.

I like not having any more bad hair days.

Hijab to me is not a big thing, just part of a code of behaviour, that I as a Muslim should follow.

I started wearing it when, I went away, when I went to Muslim gatherings, then when I last went to Egypt and decided that I didn't want to take it off, Alhamdulilah.

I know it is harder for a lot of other women, and I think we all, especially brothers, need to remember this. We all have our own challenges.

For someone thinking about wearing hijab, I would recommend three things:
Intention
Experimentation
Taking your Time.

Any action becomes easier when you know the reason behind it and are convinced of that reason. "My husband wants me to, I get nasty looks from other sisters....." Don't wear it to please other people, you will resent them and yourself for it.

Hijab is not a hair shirt. It should feel comfortable and does not need to be hideously ugly.
There are many different materials and styles of wearing hijab. Find what feels comfortable for you.
This is where I give a special mention to the ladies of Egypt, who know to dress modestly with tons of style, Masha Allah!

You will know when it is the right time to wear hijab. Some people wear it straight after converting/as soon as they hit puberty, others later.

Alhamdulilah, I always have lovely commenters on this blog. I know the more Muslim-then-thou crew would say "Astagfurallah, sister! Hijab is a fard and should be worn immediately, not when it pleases you".

To which I would reply that I agree hijab is fard, therefore it should not be taken lightly. That's why I believe it should only be worn when the sister feels she is ready to wear it, through her own choice.

Where are the blessings in misplaced obedience?